DeSantis Gunhide Celebrates 50th Anniversary

What started out as a hobby has now become a major force in the industry.

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posted on March 29, 2022
DeSantis Gunhide 50th anniversary

DeSantis Gunhide has developed, designed and manufactured some of the best gun holsters on the market for the past five decades. The company’s longstanding use of American-premium hide and tough synthetics has built it an enviable reputation in the competitive industry, but it’s the performance and longevity of its holsters and accessories that have attracted and retained a loyal following among knowledgeable enthusiasts.

The firm launched in 1972 as a modest evolution of Gene DeSantis’s hobby while an upperclassmen at Pratt Institute. Its roots took hold when an FBI agent he met at a local gunsmith shop convinced him to make a few concealed-carry holsters for him and his coworkers in the New York FBI Field Office. The response was encouraging and for the next two years he handcrafted a few each a week.

Word spread, sales increased and in 1974 he went big time—with little more than $2,000 to spare—by renting a 200-square-foot shop for $75 a month. Design was by trial and error, at first, but his engineering skills and military experience paid off. Over the next nine years the company grew and moved five times into larger spaces to meet demand.

The next 16 years saw exponential growth in sales. Today the company employs roughly 130 people and the DeSantis name is holster legend.

Quality and design were the keys to success, according to Chad DeSantis, warehouse manager at the company. “People liked the innovations that my father used in some of his early holsters,” he said. “Even something as simple as using nylon thread instead of cotton because it was stronger and lasted longer. My father has holsters above his desk from when he first started that can still be used today. They stand the test of time.”

“My father likes to think that we didn’t invent concealment, we just perfected it.,” he added. “We are a proud American-based company that has been making all of our goods here in the U.S. since our inception. We are proud of our attention to detail, our fast shipping, and our quality amongst all other things.”

A big key that helped launch the firm, according to Chad, is the fact that his mother worked full time to help make ends meet in the beginning. “My father started on the kitchen table making each one by hand,” he summarized. “We can’t wait to show everyone how great we will be for the next 50 years and beyond.”

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